Archives For Leadership

Team of Teams book“Management models based on planning and predicting instead of resilient adaptation to changing circumstances are no longer suited to today’s challenges.” – Walter Isaacson in the forward to Team of Teams by General Stanley  McChrystal.

Walter Isaacson – resilient adaptation

Dave Kraft is a wise man and was my former leadership coach. In an excellent post he talks about the application of ACTS in a particular situation and this post is a worthwhile read in my opinion.

So, let’s look at ACTS in a general sense and how a leader might apply it to their life.

A – ACCOUNTABLE: Are you truly accountable to someone(s) in your life? Truly accountable? Is someone willing to ask you the hard questions and pursue you until you deal with those questions? Are they willing to challenge questionable behaviors in your life?

C – CONFESSIONAL: Do you confess and own your sin or do you try to shift the blame? Mature leaders accept rebuke, confess their sin, and own their sin.

T – TEACHABLE: Are you teachable as a leader? Are you willing to receive honest inquiries from those you lead? And others? Do you realize that there are many people smarter than you and some of them are on the team you lead?

S – SUSTAINABLE: Is the pace you are setting for your team sustainable? Are your expectations realistic? Are you providing the resources to your team that they need to meet your expectations? What about your team’s work-life balance?

Here is how Dave applies ACTS:

1. Good and genuine accountability, coupled with vulnerability and transparency.
2. A clear value in keeping short accounts, with sin being quickly confessed and owned.
3. An attitude of being teachable and open to new ideas and ways of thinking.
4. A culture of pacing that is realistic and sustainable, resulting in good morale and joy.

Now, how can you apply ACTS in your life?


Lauren - Blue sky over the REZRecently, a new acquaintance and I were discussing what we have learned in leading people over the years. During that discussion, an example came rushing back to my mind of how, in my arrogance and ignorance, I almost damaged a man’s career and from that experience came two valuable lessons.

Jim Collin’s famously talked about getting the right person on the bus AND getting them in the right seat on the bus. My experience boiled down to me almost removing someone who was the right person on the bus, I had just placed him in the wrong seat.

It began when this gentleman’s manager came to me complaining about this man’s performance as a supervisor of a large department. Time after time, the manager was coming into my office complaining about the supervisor to the point that some kind of action had to be taken and soon. With all the confidence of a leader in their late 20’s, I made the decision that the man had to be removed from our part of the organization – a move that would have seriously damaged the man’s career in our greater organization.

Fortunately, there was an older, more experienced, and wiser man on my staff that was a technical advisor to me. He came to me and gently suggested that I at least give this supervisor a chance at an open individual contributor’s position in another one of our departments. Fortunately, I listened, transferred the former supervisor, and he became a star in his new position greatly elevating the performance of the overall organization.

Just by simply changing the  man’s “seat”, he went from a problem to a star. How often does that happen?

The first lesson that I learned was the importance of knowing the people I lead well enough to place them into positions that best match how they are wired so that they thrive and succeed. No mater how good the person, if they are in the wrong position, it will eventually not work out well.

The second lesson I learned was to treasure and listen to those on my team that are smarter, more experienced, and wiser than me. Please don’t fear or be intimated by those people that  you lead that are smarter and wiser than yourself. Treasure them and take good care of them!

Learn your team – place them correctly – take care of them!


what is your viewpoint?

January 3, 2016

What is your viewpoint – about people? How do you “see” others?Keely's flower

Do you see others, especially those you lead, as obstacles, means to an end, headcount, staff, or as people with unique qualities, needs, desires, fears, and personalities?

Do you choose to trust people’s intent or do they have to “earn” your trust?

Quite often, I have viewed others either as obstacles to getting my job done or as a means to get the job done all the while forgetting the fact I was working with wonderfully created, fascinating, imperfect, frustrating, inspiring, and very diverse people with wonderful stories – if I would have just listened and appreciated them.

Three passages from the Bible now guide, most of the time, how I view others:

1. First and foremost: Genesis 1:27 (ESV)

“So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.”

This verse reminds us that when we interact with a person, we are dealing with someone very special to God and that was created in His image. This is not something to take lightly!

2. Secondly, Micah 6:8 (ESV)

“He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the LORD require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?”

The key reminders for us contained in this passage are to walk humbly, and then to not only do justice to others, but to be kind to them and, again, especially to those we are privileged to lead.

3. Thirdly is 1 Peter 5:2-3 (ESV)

“. . . shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.’

This passage is a reminder to be a shepherd and not a “boss”. It reminds us to check our motives as we lead others. The passage reminds us to be examples to those we lead. The other thing that strikes me about this passage is how we are to be shepherds. Shepherds of that time were not “rock stars”, but simple and lowly men who were given stewardship over the flocks of other men. Theirs was a lonely life as they nurtured and protected their flocks, oftentimes at great risk and cost to their own lives. They received little reward from society at large. This passage is a reminder to not to make so much of “leadership”, but to learn to shepherd our “flock” on behalf of God and others so that the “flock” may thrive and not for our own glory.

So what is your viewpoint? How do you “see” and lead others?


Mark Sanborn - Anticipate

the power of co-leading

July 15, 2015

Pinelake July 2015Co-leading seems to go against the culture of the individualist strain of celebrity CEO’s and the myths that surround them, however, in reality none of us do anything alone. We need the help of others, we need their partnership to accomplish so much more that we can alone.

I have had the privilege of co-leading with a colleague who has now become a good friend. Where we worked, it is called a dyad – two working as one. We are as different as we can be and that was a good thing! He is East Coast, I am Southern; I like strategizing and planning, he acts and gets things done quickly; sometimes details are not that important to me, he masters details; I am more introverted and intuitive and he is extroverted and likes dealing with facts. We balanced each other well, got more done together than we could have individually, and best of all forged a new friendship.

The article “How to Co-Lead a Team” on the Harvard Business Review site deals with this subject well. below is an excerpt, its worth your time to read the entire article if you are interested in becoming more effective as a leader.

“We don’t lead alone. We lead with others. The days of the ‘Great Man’ theory of Leadership – where one sole leader rules over the masses from their ivory tower, are long gone.

Some of us quite literally lead with another person – we co-lead a project, a team, or an organization with a peer. A study by Pearce and Sims (2002), published in Group Dynamics, found that shared leadership is a useful predictor of team effectiveness. Other research suggests shared leadership can also lead to greater team interaction, increased collaboration and coordination, as well as novel and more innovative solutions. But while co-leadership can be energizing and rewarding, if the relationship isn’t strong, the arrangement can easily become draining and frustrating.”

Check it out – it is worth your time in my opinion.